I'm Ludovica, from Italy and I'm the GM at BottlesXO, the super fast and reliable alcohol delivery app. I first arrived in Shanghai through a university program back in August 2012. I immediately fell in love with the city and its multicultural community of thriving, hard-working people, so right after graduation (having also majored in Chinese language) it made sense to come back. I'm celebrating my 5th consecutive year in China this summer.
When I permanently moved back to Shanghai in 2013, I helped to manage a small restaurant, worked with the good folks of SHFT and other small companies to manage their PR and communications, and took on a few teaching gigs. By March 2014, I stopped my studies and added to the mix a full-time role at one of Shanghai's premium e-commerce grocery stores.
In February 2015, I was invited by a friend to a "secret wine tasting", and that evening I happened to talk with Zou Zhengfang, one of BottlesXO Co-founders. A couple of months later I received a text from him asking for a chat, and we met with Mischa Schulze and Thilo Fuchs, the other two co-founders. I liked them, they liked me, and I was offered to join the team as a shareholder and marketing manager.
Mind you, the company didn't publicly exist when I joined in May 2015, so before accepting the role and the equity I called my mom and dad to ask for their opinion and I said to them: "I know I have a job that I like and that is safe now, but if I don't do something so crazy as to join a company that doesn't exist when I'm 24 and have nothing to lose, when am I ever going to do it?” Fast forward 3 years, BottlesXO is celebrating our 3rd Anniversary this Saturday.
My favorite aspect of Shanghai is the inspiring international community. Most people are super supportive, they like to be helpful and there's a great sense of belonging. Whenever I ask for help, I encounter great support and I try to give back at every occasion! On the reverse side, I feel like Shanghai makes it hard for anyone who wasn't born and raised here to feel at "home" or at ease. Polluted, expensive, and frenetic, this city can be tough to live in. But don't get me wrong, the pros definitely outweigh the cons!
As a big foodie and amateur food writer (check out @lulus_hungry on Instagram and follow my blog), where to eat is always one of my favorite questions. As an Italian, I'll start off by recommending my favorite pizza place, which is Gemma (on Monday they have this awesome pizza + beer + icecream for 100 RMB deal). Bespoke in St. Regis and Oxalis are among my favorite new openings. Respectively the favorite dishes at these two places are the scampi tartare (though the menu is seasonal and rotates frequently) and the Berkshire pork shoulder.
Other restaurant picks include Canton Table where I love going back to for Dim Sum, Maya/Mayita
for brunch, Colca is always good and has the best venison ribs in town. I'm an even bigger Chinese food monster. I tend to munch on everything from wontons at little holes in the wall, Dandan noodles just hit the right spot and Malatang is my religion. Yunnan, Hunan and Sichuan food tend to be among my favorite cuisines and it doesn't matter which restaurant I go to as long as I don't get poisoned.
When I’m not drinking and eating, my boyfriend and I take our lovely puppy Ban Ban out on walks or to the West Bund's dog friendly park. Picnics and prosecco may be involved though, so not sure it counts!
At 28 and without kids, debt, mortgage or liabilities to distract me, my job is what takes up most of my energies, and I'm happy I've made my time worthwhile in the past few years in Shanghai. We're still just a start-up and who knows what the future has in store for us, but whatever it'll end up being, I'm extremely proud of what we have achieved so far.
I honestly don't feel like I'm going to be ready to say goodbye to Shanghai any time soon. I love my life here and I really don't want to move to a country that doesn't have enough Chinese food options.
Check out the BottlesXO 'Screw it!' Anniversary Party on Saturday from 4pm till late, free entry. Everyone's invited.